The 7th Conference on Practice and Research for Social Service Excellence

Learning for Service Development: What Evidence Tells
The social service sector is committed to the pursuit of service excellence. In past few years, the Council has successfully organized a series of conferences and workshops, bringing together overseas and local wisdoms on evidence-based practice. We hope to stimulate exchange and learning among NGO practitioners, and to explore different ways of using research to promote service impact and service innovation.

“Learning for Service Development: What Evidence Tells” is the theme of the coming conference. We invite selected winners of the Best Practice Awards project to share how they assess and demonstrate their service impact, the insight that they gain for service development.

Moreover, we are glad to have Dr. Sui Ting Kong, Assistant Professor of Social Work in the Department of Sociology from Durham University, to be our keynote speaker at the conference. She was first trained as a social worker in Hong Kong, and later completed her PhD at the University of York (UK) in 2015. She has always been interested in social work practice research, qualitative methodological innovation, and theorising intimate partner violence and practices of intimacy. In the coming conference, she will be introducing how the social service agencies use practice research as service development and reflection, and the possibilities for the cooperation between research practitioners and social workers for link up research and service development. She will also be running a pre-conference workshop for us. By providing activities and case studies, she will facilitate our participants to reflect roles of social workers and researcher practitioners as well as the possible room for collaboration between them in designing and promoting practice research in their own agency.
March 23, 2018 (Friday)
9:30am – 5:30pm (Registration start at 9:10am)
Venue :
Auditorium, 1/F., Duke of Windsor Social Service Building, 15 Hennessy Road, Wanchai, Hong Kong
Registration Fee*:
$180 HKCSS member / $230 Non-member (on or before March 16)
$280 HKCSS member / $330 Non-member (on or before March 20)
* Special Offer: for participants who are enrolling conference & workshop
$430 HKCSS member / $530 Non-member (on or before March 16)
$580 HKCSS member / $680 Non-member (on or before March 20)
Click here for online registration on or before March 20
Payment Method:
Sending acrossed chequemade payable to "The Hong Kong Council of Social Service" and mail to the address: Room901B, 9/F, Duke of Windsor Social Service Building, 15 Hennessy Road, Wanchai, Hong Kong.Behind the chaque, please write down your name, contact number, agency name, and the activity you registered (Conference cum workshop / workshop / conference).

* Attention:No online payment.
* For the avoidance of doubt, we do not accept cash. Please forgive us for causing any inconveniences.
(Phone) 2864 2975 (Ms Lam)


9:30am Welcome Speech

Keynote Speech:
Practitioner Research for Critical Transformation of Social Work Practice

Dr. KONG Sui Ting
Department of Sociology, Durham University, U.K.
10:40am Coffee Break
11:00am Session 1: Case Sharing

An Exploration on Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT) for Clients with Substance Dependence

Ms. WONG Yim Wah
Ms. WONG Wing Fai

Caritas Hong Kong

Evaluation of the Impact of Supportive Services in the New Public Housing Estate: Rationale, Application and Implications

Ms. Peggy LEUNG
Mr. Dennis CHU

Hong Kong Christian Service

 Evidence-based Practice: Project R - Assisting Arrested Youths

Mr. Wilson CHAN
The Hong Kong Federation of Youth Groups

 Supporting Employment Service for Youths with SEN from School to Community: Integration and Participation

Hong Kong PHAB Association
12:40pm Lunch
2:00pm Session 2: Case Sharing

Lok Chi In-home Training: Tablets Application to Provide Effective Cognitive and Mental Health Training for Elderly

Ms. Selina LO
Hong Kong Housing Society
Dr. Vivian LOU
The University of Hong Kong

Project Crossroad: Art-based Life and Death Education for Elderly

Ms. SO So Chi
Ms. LAM Kam Lee

Evangelical Lutheran Church Social Service

“SMARTCare” – An Innovative Collaborative Model between Hospital, Social Welfare & Neighborhood, What Are the Outcomes?

Ms. Anna KWOK
Ms. Zoe MA

The Hong Kong Society for Rehabilitation

The Outcome of Toy Library for the Elderly: A Creative Model to Face Dementia

Ms. Karen CHOW
Hong Kong Lutheran Social Service
3:40pm Coffee Break

Impacts of the Experience of Social Enterprise on NGOs: Functions of Social Impact Assessment

Dr. WONG Hung
Department of Social Work
The Chinese University of Hong Kong

Report Back Session of the 7th European Conference for Social Work Research and the Inspiration to Hong Kong

Mr. Keith WONG
Social Development, The Hong Kong Council of Social Service
Ms. Tanni HSU
Delegate of the 7th European Conference for Social Work Research
5:15pm Conclusion


Dr. KONG Sui Ting

Assistant Professor in Social Work,
Department of Sociology,
Durham University, U.K.

Topic: Practitioner Research for Critical Transformation of Social Work Practice

Social work is committed to bringing positive social change and better outcomes for the disadvantaged, the marginalised and the oppressed. This understanding highlights both the practical and the ethical agenda of social work as a profession, and the unique challenges that practitioners are facing in demonstrating practice effectiveness while being critical of the values that underpin the service design and delivery. In this talk, Dr. Sui-Ting Kong will look at how the different models of practitioner research can help fulfil the practical and the ethical agenda in social work practice. She will discuss the challenges and good practices consolidated from her experiences in conducting local practitioner research projects, concluding that equal partnership among social work academics, care practitioners and service users is the key for bringing critical transformation in social work practice.

Ms. WONG Yim Wah

Register Social Worker,
Gato House – Animal Assisted Therapy Drug Rehabilitation Programme,
Caritas District Youth Outreaching Social Work Team

Ms. WONG Wing Fai

Register Social Worker,
Gato House – Animal Assisted Therapy Drug Rehabilitation Programme,
Caritas District Youth Outreaching Social Work Team

Topic: An Exploration on Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT) for Clients with Substance Dependence

The purpose of this study was to explore the therapeutic outcomes of Gato House’s Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT) in group therapy, and the cats adoption programme for clients who had a background of substance dependence. This is a qualitative study that involved individual semi-structured interviews, focus group, and participant observation. Many studies had shown that it was very difficult to engage clients with substance dependence in treatment programmes. However, our preliminary findings suggested that the presence of animals and utilization of their stories were very promising in engaging the clients and strengthening therapeutic alliance, together with other positive therapeutic outcomes during the group therapy facilitated by Gato House therapists. Meanwhile, our preliminary findings also indicated that those who had participated in the adoption programme had developed a stronger sense of responsibility and higher incentive to integrate back into the society.

Ms. Peggy LEUNG

Project Leader,
Hong Kong Christian Service Jockey Club Anderson Community Support Network,
Hong Kong Christian Service

Mr. Dennis CHU

Research and Advocacy Officer,
Research and Development Office,
Hong Kong Christian Service

Topic: Evaluation of the Impact of Supportive Services in the New Public Housing Estate: Rationale Application and Implications

At 2016, Hong Kong Christian Service Kwun Tong Happy Teens Club launched a service project in assisting resident adaptation and problems derived from relocation, on the street-side of On Tat estate (A new public estate). The project aims at generating community assets, generating mutual support network, and building cohesion of the community.

To objectively evaluate the effectiveness of the new service model, a mixed-method research methodology was employed: the use of quantitative method in measuring the change of sense of belongings of discrete intervention samples, and regression analysis to look into the mechanism of the service model. On the other hand, the use of qualitative in-depth interview was to explore the perceptions and reasons of change among residents. Preliminary findings revealed the project was effective in increasing residents’ knowledge and sense of security towards the new community, and an increased awareness and support towards children learning. The support work which strengthened social capital, has positive impacts on building up residents’ sense of belongings as well as their willingness to community building.

Mr. Wilson CHAN

Youth at Risk Services,
The Hong Kong Federation of Youth Groups

Topic: Evidence-based Practice: Project R - Assisting Arrested Youths

HKFYG Youth Crime Prevention Centre and the Hong Kong Police Force New Territories South Region have launched “Project R”, which is the first project in Hong Kong jointly organized by a social service organization and the police since June 2012. It provides specialized services including crisis intervention, counseling and family support services for the arrested youths (aged from 10-24), victims of the crime and their family members. In 2014, the Keswick Foundation had given support to Project R and subsequently a full launch of its scheme. Then, Project R has collaborated with the Department of Applied Social Sciences of the City University of Hong Kong, successfully developed a scientific assessment tool to assess the risk of recidivism and timing of interventions. Meanwhile, City University of Hong Kong Professor Wong Sing-wing and his research team conducted a study on evaluating Project R’s effectiveness. It found that Project R filled the service gap, as well as having significant effects to reduce the recidivism of youth offenders. The evidence-based study strengthens the potential of Project R’s service development to become a regular service and expand to other districts in the coming future.


Register Social Worker,
Youth Development(SEN), Hong Kong PHAB

Topic: Supporting Employment Service for Youths with SEN from School to Community: Integration and Participation

Hong Kong PHAB Association has started a 3-year “Youth D.I.M.E.N.SION” project for youths with special educational needs (SEN) in Hong Kong since 2014. The project was a one-stop employment support training for the SEN youths aged between 17 and 29, which was funded by Community Chest. It assisted the youths to unleash their employment potentials and enhance their motivation of employment.

The project was measured by quantitative and qualitative research methods. Data were collected from youths with SEN and related stakeholders. Findings revealed the intervention of the project brought positive impacts on 4 areas:

  • Most of the participants revealed that “Youth-oriented training” enhanced their self-development and motivation to work after joining job related training courses, particularly during the school to work transition.
  • The strategy of “School to community” was used to provide career planning intervention for tertiary institutions. It helped to enhance the ability of youths with SEN to be independent and integrate with the workplace under a systematic counseling service.
  • "Strength-based" approach could enhance self-confidence and self-efficacy of youths with SEN in the workplace.
  • The project could create an “integration platform" with equal opportunities and workplace integration for youths with SEN for developing their potentials and being employed

In conclusion, service users had a significant change in personal growth, open employment and job placement performance. The result also helped to develop service in the future.

Ms. Selina LO

Senior Manager,
Elderly Services Section,
Property Management Division,
Hong Kong Housing Society

Dr. Vivian LOU

Sau Po Centre on Ageing,
The University of Hong Kong

Topic: Lok Chi In-home Training: Tablets Application to Provide Effective Cognitive and Mental Health Training for Elderly

Cognitive impairment and depression are the two predominant mental health issues of elderly which significantly undermine their quality of life and produce stress onto their caregivers. However, the current formal community support services for homebound elderly with cognitive impairment and caregivers are still far from meeting the growing needs. Mobilizing volunteers and leveraging the power of technology becomes essential and desirable.

Lok Chi In-home Training trained volunteers with a tablet application containing 8-session cognitive and mental health training for elderly based on the concepts of body-mind-spirit, cognitive stimulation, reminiscence and cognitive behavioral intervention. Trained volunteers delivered the training to those homebound elderly with depressive symptoms and mild cognitive impairment at their homes.

Evaluation method:
Data of 58 participants from a single group’s pretest-protest design were obtained and analyzed. Senior technology acceptance was explored. Moreover, three focused groups were conducted with the participated elderly, volunteers and responsible social workers after the completion of interventions.

Findings revealed elders were positive towards tablet use (mean: 7.421 out of 10) and perceived it as useful (mean:7.07). They were confident in using it with the help of social workers or volunteers (mean: 7.439). As compared to pre-intervention, scores of MoCA 5-min improved from 17.03 to 19.85 (p=0.000) after intervention. The most significant improvement was found in MoCA 5-min memory, verbal fluency and delayed memory. Focus group participants shared that the intervention had improved memory, cognition and emotions of older participants. Using tablet provided new things to learn, provoked more topics for discussion, avoided sensitive topics, enabled training impacts and was joyful. Volunteers reported it was more attractive, fun and inspirational. It facilitated the elders to sing and speak up. For illiterate elderly, it was easy to follow. It helped elders to recall memory and to improve their cognitive ability. Social workers reported it provided elderly with stimulation and interest in life. It raised their curiosity and attention. It facilitated the interaction between the elderly and their carers.

Lok Chi In-home Training assisted elderly improving memory, verbal fluency and delayed memory. With the above results, advancement and recommendation for future application of tablets are addressed.

Ms. SO So Chi

Assistant Centre in-change & Project supervisor,
Evangelical Lutheran Church Social Service - Hong Kong

Ms. LAM Kam Lee

Service director,
Elderly Service,
Evangelical Lutheran Church Social Service - Hong Kong

Topic: Project Crossroad - Art based Life and Death education for Elderly

Talking about death is still a kind of taboo in a Chinese community like Hong Kong. To encourage the older adults and their families to be better prepared for the end of life (EOL), Project Crossroad of ELCHK Social Service organized a series of art-based experiential and educational programs to facilitate the older adults to get in touch with the EOL issues. It also promoted better communication among the family members on life and death issues.

To investigate the effectiveness of the intervention, our team invited researchers with professional background in art therapy and HKU Sau Po Centre on Aging to carry out qualitative and quantitative researches.

For the qualitative part, in-depth case study and focus groups were used. Analysis of the participants’ artworks and their sharing showed that art-based intervention was an effective and useful way to integrate the life experiences of older adults, and it brought the fresh insights on life and death to the older adults. It also brought catharsis effects on their inner emotions. For the quantitative part, a pre-and-post questionnaire was used. The results showed that 93% of the randomly sampled elderly participants have enhanced their life satisfaction. An increase in death anxiety was also found among the elderly participants, which facilitated them to make better preparation on personal after-death arrangement. The research also proved that art-based intervention effectively helped the older adults to articulate their sophisticated emotions, as well as to facilitate meaningful dialogues on life and death among the family members.

The qualitative and quantitative findings shed light on local life-and-death education and support services for older adults and their families. The findings are useful for future service development, particularly on the effectiveness of therapeutic use of art-based programs and adopting a family perspective on EOL preparation.

Ms. Anna KWOK

Community Rehabilitation Network,
The Hong Kong Society for Rehabilitation

Ms. Zoe MA

Deputy Manager,
Community Rehabilitation Network,
The Hong Kong Society for Rehabilitation

Topic: “SMARTCare” – An Innovative Collaboration between Hospitals, Social Welfare Sector and Neighborhood, What Are the Outcomes for Carers of People with Chronic Diseases?

Numerous studies have documented that family carers of individuals with chronic diseases experience high levels of stress, which can lead to depression, physical symptoms, and psychosocial problems. With the expected increase of population of people with chronic diseases, we are facing a challenge to design innovative services to address the unmet needs of family carers in Hong Kong. “SMARTCare” was designed to improve well-being of family carers residing in Wan Chai and Hong Kong East by building social capitals. It was funded by Community Investment and Inclusion Fund, strategic partnering with Hospital Authority Hong Kong East Cluster and close collaboration with residents’ associations.

“Chinese version of Burden Scale for Family Caregivers (BSFC)” and “Partners in Health (PIH)” were used to collect carers’ perceived change of caregiving burden and self-efficacy in managing care recipients’ health, before and after receiving the services. While “GAIN” was used to measure carers’ positive gains following family caregiving. Trained interviewers collected carers’ satisfaction level on the services by phone interview.

From 2015 to 2017, 78 carers who received core services of the Project participated in the evaluation. They were mostly male carers (67.9%) with mean age of 63.3 (range from 33 to 86). The majority were spouse carers (55.1%) and adult children (32.1%). Main diagnoses of care recipients were stroke (42.3%), cognitive impairment (15.4%), heart diseases (11.5%) and Parkinson’s diseases (10.3%). Overall initial BSFC score was 65.92 and reassessment score decreased to 61.92. The change indicated decrease in perceived burden, with p-value of 0.031 which was statistically significant. While for PIH, the initial mean score was 72.12 and the reassessment score was 76.05, with p-value of 0.042, indicating that the difference was also statistically significant. Lastly, score of Caregiving GAIN was 3.83 (SD=0.548) with higher score in the “relationship GAIN subscale”.

The evaluation showed that core services of the Project was associated with positive outcomes in reduction of family caregiving burden, self-efficacy in chronic disease management and positive gains following family caregiving. It was also found that carers who had higher burden and received more services resulted in positive outcomes. Supporting carers by building social capitals is a good way out to meet huge service demand.

Ms. Karen CHOW Kit Sum

Assistant Service Director,
Toy Library for the Elderly with Mild Cognitive Impairment,
Hong Kong Lutheran Social Service

Topic: The Outcome of Toy Library for the Elderly: a Creative Model to Face Dementia

The first Toy Library for the Elderly has been customized to meet the needs of the elderly, especially in the aspects of cognitive training, sensory stimulation, social and recreational needs. Toys are specially selected or even tailor-made for older persons to meet their age need, considering their possible visual, mobility impairment and cognitive level too.

This model has been established since 2012 by Hong Kong Lutheran Social Service. It provides drop-in services and also lending services. There are over 1500 pieces of toys in ten categories (including Attention & Reaction, Recalling & Memory, Motor Skills & Co-ordination, Calculating & Logical Thinking, Visual & Spatial Perception etc) available for services. Volunteers in different age groups will be trained as toy librarians. In addition to the supports from limited professional staffs, this model has been serving over 40000 beneficiaries in 2000 sessions since 2012.

Playing with toys brings different positive effects to the elderly. To evaluate the effectiveness of an intervention with toys and games on improving the psychological well-being and cognitive functioning of people with Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI), a quantitative randomized controlled trial research was conducted from August 2013 to January 2014. 119 elderly screened by The Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA) with scores from 17 to 25 were recruited as participants. With 113 participants who completed the Pre-test and Post-test, the result showed an improvement on their psychological well-being (p=.01) and overall quality of life (p﹤.05). The cognitive functioning of persons with MoCA 17-19 was also improved (p﹤.05). Another research was conducted in 2016 with 126 participants recruited from five Day Care Centers for the Elderly. The research also concluded that this toy library model is effective in improving the quality of life of community-dwelling elderly with dementia.

The outcome of toy library for the elderly was significant and it is suggested to introduce this accessible, age-friendly, and cost effective toy library provision to more community centers which benefit the elderly, their care-givers and the community.

Dr. WONG Hung

Associated Professor,
Department of Social Work,
The Chinese University of Hong Kong

Topic: Impacts of the Experience of Social Enterprise on NGOs: Functions of Social Impact Assessment

UNEMIA is a project that promotes “UNderstanding and EMbracing diversity with evidence-based Impact Assessment”, held by the Department of Social Work of The Chinese University of Hong Kong in 2017. It offers quality research services to the academia, non-governmental organizations, policy think tanks, the government, primary and secondary schools and private corporations in achieving social objectives. One of the specialties is that the frontline research team consists of well-trained university students and community members such as deprived women, retired persons and ethnic minorities. Given the provision of extensive trainings, the collaborative work, especially in data collection, allows interviewers to recognize others’ strengths and abilities irrespective of their status in society. It promotes social cohesion through building social capital and trustworthy relations in the working process.

UNEMIA will be used as a case study to demonstrate the conventional social impact assessment (SIA) and its limitations. The presenter will therefore introduce the significance of carrying out SIA in systematic and professional manners, and the complementary role of social enterprise in promoting SIA with NGOs.